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If you're a photographer (an enthusiast or a pro), you'll eventually be asked to photograph a wedding: a task that's both a privilege and a challenge. You're capturing one of life's most significant milestones. You're shooting an event filled with unpredictable moments that can't be re-created, and you need to be involved without being intrusive. It's a balancing act that professional wedding photographers work hard to perfect.
Chris Orwig has been in exactly this position, and in this course, he shares his experiences and creative insights, all liberally illustrated with examples from weddings that he has photographed. The course begins with details on preproduction—your gear and equipment decisions and the importance of talking to the bride and groom about their goals for your photographs. It also explores some key strategies for documenting the ceremony and the celebration afterwards. Lastly, Chris reviews some postproduction strategies for enhancing your images and delivering them to the happy couple.
One of the reasons why it's fun attending a wedding--or photographing a wedding--is because often when you arrive at the wedding, especially at the reception, you get to see a reflection of the bride and the groom in all of the details, in all the ways that they planned this event, and as a photographer it's your job to capture the personality of this event, to capture those little small details. You almost want to approach the event from the perspective of an anthropologist. You want to look at it and say, well, what's interesting here, what am I noticing? You may pick up on the fact that perhaps there is a vintage nautical theme, and there are small hand-painted boats on the center of each and every table.
Well, you want to photograph those details, because maybe one of the bridesmaids, she stayed up all night painting these, you want to capture that small detail. Also, perhaps the bride and the groom they love the ocean, they love sailing, again, photograph those details. So here what I want to do is talk a little bit about how we can capture details, and I want to do this because one of the things that I've found as I've reflected on my own photography is I'm not good at capturing the details.
I typically get really caught up in photographing the people, and I'm working with gear, like a 70-200 millimeter lens so I can capture all of the people and the energy and excitement of the event. Meanwhile, I'm overlooking something really important right underneath my camera. Many times what you need to do to capture these details is just shift your perspective, or maybe even change the gear that you use. All right, well, let's take a look at a few photographs that I think illustrate how we can start to capture the details at a wedding.
This first photograph you can see is this fountain. It was a huge fountain, and it was pretty ordinary except that they had this candle floating in the middle of it, and all of these rose petals, and this confetti, and it was just beautiful to capture this image. I had a wide angle lens, and I just looked down, I cropped out all of the other people. In other situations, maybe you notice they have a unique guestbook. Like this bride and groom, they loved surfing, so they had this surf photography book and everyone was signing it, you want to capture that small detail, because it's important to them.
Other times maybe you're going to notice the cake, and there are so many different types of wedding cakes or cupcakes or who knows what, pay attention to that and capture that. Like with this one, the chocolate frosting and all of these natural flowers, still in other situations, maybe you're just looking at the table settings, and you want to photograph those in any way, shape, or form that you can. Other times perhaps it's a sign, a hand-painted sign like this one which says Grow Old with Me The best is yet to be...
Or perhaps there is a sign which announces the wedding. This was out in front of the wedding location, Walton Wedding. Still in other situations, maybe they've kind of set something up in a curious way. Here was a place where people could leave cards or sign the guestbook. The theme of this wedding, it was natural and rustic and vintage. Again, these details matter. The place settings also always tell a certain story. I love this one with the mason jars, with these wildflowers that the bride and groom had picked that day.
Photograph these details before the wedding or during the ceremony or perhaps as the light changes once it's night. You want to capture these details in any way that you can. And as I reflect upon my own photographic journey in regards to photographing weddings, I've realized that one of my weak points is photographing details. I usually miss the details. And as I've reflected on that, I've started to study other great wedding photographers. One of the things that I've noticed is that when they capture details, they use a really shallow depth of field, so they can focus in on the detail.
Often they use a macro lens. So the next time that I photograph a wedding here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to have my long telephoto lens on, photograph the people and then for a few moments I'm going to put on my macro lens. In a sense I'm going to change my hat and say, you know what Chris? Now is the time to focus in on those details. I'm going to then do the rounds and photograph all of the small little details, because I find that those, they really matter, they really reflect the bride and the groom, and it's such a special way to kind of capture the unique personality of that bride and groom and of that wedding celebration.
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